Home » Diseases and Conditions » Supraventricular Tachycardia: What Are the Most Common Types Of SVT?

Supraventricular Tachycardia: What Are the Most Common Types Of SVT?

Supraventricular Tachycardia: What Are the Most Common Types Of SVT?
Rate this post

Supraventricular Tachycardia


Supraventricular Tachycardia, more commonly known as SVT, is a rapid and irregular heartbeat that originates from improper electrical signals in the heart’s upper chambers. SVT can occur during exercise or while at rest and can last for seconds, minutes or even hours. A normal heart rate at rest should stay under 100bpm (beats per minute). During an episode of SVT, the heart rate is anywhere between 100bpm and 300bpm. Most cases of SVT are not life threatening, but if the patient has frequent or long-lasting episodes of SVT, it can lead to serious complications.

What Causes Supraventricular Tachycardia?

Supraventricular Tachycardia can occur entirely on its own or result from one of the following factors:

  • Stress
  • Excessive caffeine intake
  • Alcoholism
  • Certain medications
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Previous heart surgery
  • Wolff–Parkinson–White Syndrome
  • Heart disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain illegal drugs
  • Dehydration
  • Thyroid disorders

Types of Supraventricular Tachycardia

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of supraventricular tachycardia. It is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat that originates in the atria. In frequent, recurrent cases, if left untreated, it can lead to serious complications including stroke.

Atrial Flutter

Atrial flutter is the rarest type of supraventricular tachycardia. It is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat that originates in the atrial chambers. If left untreated, in frequent, recurrent cases, it can lead to serious complications, including stroke.

Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia

Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, also known as PSVT, refers to a rapid heartbeat that starts and stops suddenly. PSVT episodes range anywhere between 120bpm and 300bpm, and only last for a matter of seconds. PSVT is generally not serious, but can be a physical and emotional nuisance for the patient.

atrial fibrillation

Supraventricular Tachycardia Symptoms

  • Rapid heartbeat of over 100bpm
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Syncope
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid breathing

Diagnosing Supraventricular Tachycardia

If you have symptoms of SVT, your primary care physician may perform an electrocardiogram, also known as an EKG, in office. An EKG records your heart’s electrical activity and will note if there is an episode of SVT present at the time. If your doctor cannot catch an episode of SVT in office, they will refer you to an electrophysiologist, a cardiac doctor who specializes in the heart’s electrical activity. Your electrophysiologist will order either a holter monitor or cardiac event monitor. A holter monitor is a device that you wear for 24 to 72 hours that records your heart’s electrical activity. An event monitor is a device that you wear for 3 to 4 weeks that records your heart’s electrical activity. These devices will record any episodes of SVT and determine what type of SVT they are.

Treating Supraventricular Tachycardia

Treatment for SVT depends on the type and cause of the rapid, irregular heartbeat. Many cases of supraventricular tachycardia can be managed with lifestyle changes, such as eliminating caffeine or alcohol. Non-invasive treatment for SVT includes medications such as beta blockers, which work to lower the heartrate. In frequent, prolonged cases of SVT, the patient may need a cardiac ablation. In a cardiac ablation procedure, your electrophysiologist inserts a catheter into a blood vessel from the groin up into the heart. Using guided fluoroscopy, the doctor tries to trigger an episode of SVT to find where in the heart the irregular rhythm is coming from. If the area can be found, it is burned or “ablated,” which typically resolves the SVT.

Leave a Reply

© 2015 Healthosphere.com. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy